October 25, 2011

Today's Wildlife Disease News Stories


Probe into fish disease in Gladstone harbour focuses on parasites

THE mystery of the Gladstone fish disease outbreak continues, with scientists focusing on a parasitic flatworm and about 300 tonnes of barramundi that spilled into the Boyne River last summer from Awoonga Dam.
Many of these fish have since become infested with the common saltwater parasite. The Gladstone Area Water Board estimated 30,000 barramundi of about a metre in length were swept over Awoonga's 25m wall from December to March after flood rains.

This has seen an enormous spike in Gladstone's commercial barra catch, with fishermen selling 18 times the annual average take.

Queensland Fisheries scientist John Robertson said yesterday the fish would have become stressed and susceptible to diseases and parasites after being hammered by the drop, having scales ripped off and shocked by rapid changes in conditions.

This was then exacerbated by crowded conditions in the Boyne River and a lack of food.

Fishermen have had to dump up to 80 per cent of barramundi catches over past weeks because of disease and discolourations.

They believe the disease problem is more likely to be related to a 46 million cubic metre harbour dredging program sullying the water.

Courier Mail - www.couriermail.com.au
18 Oct 2011
Location: Australia


First Ebola-like virus native to Europe discovered

A team of international researchers has discovered a new Ebola-like virus – Lloviu virus -- in bats from northern Spain. Lloviu virus is the first known filovirus native to Europe, they report in a study published in the journal PLOS Pathogens on Octobr 20th.

The study was a collaboration among scientists at the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII) in Spain, Roche Life Sciences, Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe, Grupo Asturiano para el Estudio y Conservación de los Murciélagos, Consejo Suerior de Investigaciones Científicas and the Complutense University in Spain.

Filoviruses, which include well-known viruses like Ebola and Marburg, are among the deadliest pathogens in humans and non-human primates, and are generally found in East Africa and the Philippines. The findings thus expand the natural geographical distribution of filoviruses.

"The study is an opportunity to advance the knowledge of filoviruses' natural cycle," said Ana Negredo, one of the first authors of the study.

Scientists at ISCIII analyzed lung, liver, spleen, throat, brain and rectal samples from 34 bats found in caves in Asturias and Cantabria, Spain, following bat die-offs in France, Spain and Portugal in 2002 affecting mainly one bat species.

EurekAlert - www.eurekalert.org
20 Oct 2011


Cause of seal deaths from Mass. to Maine still a mystery

Two dead harbor seals washed ashore in Rockport this weekend, bringing the number of the marine mammals found dead on New England beaches to 128. Scientists, having ruled out human involvement, are now looking at other reasons for the deaths.

Northern Massachusetts has experienced 19 seal deaths since Sept. 1, including the two seals found dead in Rockport on Oct. 14 and 16.

Preliminary results from necropsies performed by the New England Aquarium in Boston on 10 of the dead seals ruled out human involvement, both direct involvement including attacks on the animals and indirect involvement such as fishing effects. Investigators are focusing on the possibility of a disease outbreak, according to aquarium spokesman Tony Lacasse.

"(Researchers) need results before they can start comparing," said Lacasse, speaking about the ways experts are trying to determine the cause of the deaths. "Unfortunately, we are in the early steps of getting results."

Pathology reports from the necropsies are still being processed, and no definitive information has been found.

Gloucester Times - www.gloucestertimes.com
18 Oct 2011


Photo courtesy of The Guardian's Week in Wildlife